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Yesterday evening, when my husband got home from work, he pulled me over to one side in the kitchen to tell me a story. The night before, he’d done Black Rook Hold Mythic in a Guild group when I’d gone for an early night, and when they got to the last boss… well it all went a bit Pete Tong. They killed Lord Kur’talos Ravencrest without an issue, but when Dantalionax appeared and cast his Dark Obliteration… everybody else died, pretty much simultaneously, leaving Mr Alt’s paladin as the last man standing. And so, he soloed an 80 million health Mythic boss. Sure, it took a while (long enough for one of his party to make a cuppa) but in the end, he won. This, undoubtedly is a moment of brilliance he will be recalling for quite some time, and it makes a potent point which I’d now like to expand on: this game needs you to be a hero, probably more now than at any point in it’s lifespan. That’s why so much is now changing to put the focus on individual game play as opposed to what used to happen, which was pretending that the solo game really didn’t exist.

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Once upon a time, people like me made their own heroic entertainment: whether it be in Legacy content, or writing fiction, or even Role Playing the impossible into reality… when the game let us down, we would be the stop gap. Being the best you could be meant there would come moments when those skills would come to the fore in group play, and undoubtedly that would inspire others to try harder. I have no doubt that Mr Alt’s brilliance will be spoken about for some time in the Guild, especially in an Expansion that does not seem particularly forgiving in 5 man situations, especially from where I happen to be standing. To have the belief that he can do this is really inspiring, and makes me want to work harder to be more hardy. Ironically, with the tools now at my disposal, I’m pretty much able to self heal myself indefinitely in solo play. I said I wouldn’t mention this publicly, and so all I’ll say is that the orange headpiece I got from a Highmountain Tribute means that, with my talented Aspect of the Turtle heal plus Exhilaration? I never die. I have become a fucking superhero, and it is MAGNIFICENT.

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However, for most players survivability is not why they play. They’re here to bring maximum DPS/HPS/mitigation in a raid or group. Except I work on the theory that unless you’re pitting me against an enrage mechanic, does it really matter how long it takes, just as long as the boss finally dies? In the case of Mr Alt, nothing else mattered except being 007 and doing the impossible whilst everyone else cheered him on. Maybe, just maybe, this game is moving in a direction where being the absolute best is no longer a requirement. Being calm under pressure, smart with your skills and looking amazeballs in a tuxedo getting the job done could perhaps be of more significance, and perhaps bemoaning that you didn’t get the DPS/HPS/mitigation Legendary you wanted so fuck this shit might not be the stock answer to every single complaint about the items that I see… no, strike that, I used to see. I’ve now ignored the word ‘Legendary’ in Tweetdeck because whining is the last thing I need in my life right now.

Perhaps learning to be a Hero is a lesson a lot more of us could do with taking.

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The default setting for so many people when they raid is maximum everything, yet I see situations where you don’t necessarily need to be able to kill stuff fast, there simply is required a better understanding of what is expected of you. Every boss, like it or not, is a set of puzzles to solve co-ordination to grasp, and damage/healing forms only a small part of that equation. However, so much of this game at both extremes relies on a very small percentage of people’s perceptions of what matters: who writes the guides, does the theorycrafting… then produces the How To videos and grinds the hours to give you the tips. Is is now as if any suggestion that ‘you can just wing it, that’s okay’ is no longer an acceptable part of game play, and that makes me very sad indeed, because it is at those moments when you didn’t read the Boss Guide and just ran in and hoped that the best moments in this game inevitably occur. Sometimes, planning ruins everything. On most days, I’ll grant you, having a plan is the better way, but on those occasion when real brilliance takes place, inevitably it is because you had to rise to circumstance.

Like Bond, if you’re that good to make it look amazing without really trying, you know your shit, and then some.

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I like my Hunter right now, and 7.1.5 is going to give me stuff I’ll just shrug and get used to. I don’t care how much damage I can do, what matters more to me is staying alive. That says hero to me far more than ever topping the damage meters would ever do. You won’t ever kill a boss face down on the encounter floor, that’s for damn sure, and that’s the mentality I now take forward with me in the Broken Isles and beyond. Sometimes, everybody should get a chance to be a Hero, even those people for whom the concept fills them with dread. Like it or not, you only learn when you open your mind to change.

That’s a lesson not just player’s virtual selves could do well to start learning.

4 thoughts on “Calling all the Heroes

  1. I had a moment like that back during Cata. I had decent raid gear, I jumped in to help a guildy get Grim Batol on heroic. A dungeon that I outgeared in a group, but could give me a problem trying to go solo, even with some help. We breezed through the entire dungeon. I was pulling so much threat I think the tank was crying. But I knew my class, knew my abilities, knew how to survive. When we came to that final corner, right before the stairs down to that last boss. We all remember that pull. The successful ones when the Tank LoS pulls and it goes well, to the Leroyyyy Jenkins pull that never worked. Except this time I was having fun. I was not pushing to race, was not demanding go faster. I was encouraging the tank to do it right. Telling others about which to CC. And we were killing anything in our path like a well rehearsed action scene. But then it happened. Someone was on auto run. Did not realize. And the fight was on. Not only the guys on the path, but the whole mob around the corner. A DPS went down, then the healer, then the tank, leaving me and the hunter in the guild. He used all he had, his pet fought valiantly. Then he was down. Leaving me and 6 adds above 50%. And I had one of those moments. When it all was clear. I was casting without thought. Playing the way that fit my style so well. Memory reflexes hitting cast after cast. First one dropped, then another, and another, I did not notice the cheers in party chat. I was focused in a way I have never repeated. This was that one time it all just clicked. And the final add was down. And I had 2% health left. I rezed the healer, and saw the comments. The person in guild told me. That was Glorious.

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    • Shoot. Accidentally hit reply. Anyway. It’s those moments you have playing. Those times when you are at 140% doing things without thought. Winning the day. That keep me playing. I know deep down somewhere, I have it in me. The self doubt may be around most of the time. But every once in awhile. 😊

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  2. I did the Black Rook Hold hero-kill on my demon hunter – Dantalionax hits extremely weakly, and it’s easily outhealed. Sadly, my experience wasn’t one of heroism; the PuG I was in told me to die several times so that they could restart and kill him faster.

    Luckily, I didn’t trust them to not mess it up again so I did it myself. Less a hero, more a tired Machiavelli.

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  3. I’M SO HAPPY SOLO CONTENT IS GOING MAINSTREAM OMGGGGGG. I’ll stop yelling now. But that’s been my focus for so long now, to see it getting an achievement and artifact skin? Geesh, never thought that would happen (although we don’t know exactly what the requirements for that soloing ach are yet). And I’ve saved so many dungeon groups even in MM without my pet tank and I know that feeling he got. It’s the best, which is why Shoot and I are always pushing the envelope on what can be solo’d…although right now we’re both just grinding AP with everyone else.

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